Rail passengers in Furness Vale to lose out?

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A MOVE to prevent two commuter trains from stopping in Furness Vale - in a bid to save two minutes from the overall journey time - have been slammed by councillors.

Under the proposals, due to be introduced in December, the 8.06am service from Buxton and the 5.52pm service from Manchester will no longer stop in the village.

Northern Rail, in a letter to Whaley Bridge Town Council explaining the move, said they were keen to accelerate the weekday commuter services by only calling at principal stations.

The train operator’s figures, also included in their letter, revealed the morning weekday service was used by six to eight passengers using Furness Vale Station, with two or three passengers getting off the later train back from Manchester.

Northern Rail said there were alternative commuter services that could be used by the current Furness Vale passengers.

But Cllr David Lomax said: “I don’t see how two minutes makes a scrap of difference to anyone deciding to use the train or not. I can’t see a sudden rush of commuters for Whaley Bridge because they can get down to Stockport two minutes faster.”

He said a number of planning applications had seen the number of parking spaces needed reduced because of good access to public transport at Furness Vale - particularly when the church was converted to apartments.

“I would resist any attempt to cut the number of trains stopping at Furness Vale,” said Cllr Lomax.

“If they want to survey the 11am train, very few get on and off going to Buxton or Stockport, is that one going to be cut? Is the noon or 1pm service?”

The Council is to write objecting to the plans.

* A massive project at Whaley Bridge station, which has included a new platform, is nearing completion.

The original station, built in the 1850s, has been restored and facilities updated as part of the work.